Aphids are a sure sign of spring and with aphids come a host of other insects that depend on them for food.

Take this insect near the bright orange-yellow oleander aphids on the rush milkweed. It looks a bit like a wasp with its ultra-thin “waist”, but its actually a fly, becuase it has two wings rather than four.

A few seconds before it laid an egg among the aphids.

It is Dioprosopa clavata, a type of flower fly (family Syrphidae). Another common name is aphid fly, because its larvae eat aphids. In fact, if you look up a bit on the stem to the right of the fly, there’s an older flower fly larva.

Here’s a closer view of another flower fly larva sitting on the bud of a rush milkweed flower.

The larva will pupate soon and become an adult aphid fly, so the cycle will continue. It is the life cycle of a family of specialist flies, based entirely on a few aphids on a milkweed plant.